As many artists are gearing up for their Spring and early Summer album releases, it begs the questions: are albums still important? Sure we all know that music matters, but does the physical album, vinyl or otherwise, still have a candle to hold in this digital day and age?
Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy has a few thoughts on the subject. In a recent article from Chicago radio station 93XRT, Tweedy says he is “not worried about the ‘experts’ saying that the album is a music medium that is dying out.” He continued saying, “an album is a journey…It invites you into its environment and tells a story. I enjoy albums, and I assume that if I enjoy them there must be others who feel the same.” (Read complete article here.)
While personally I agree with Tweedy—my personal record collection continues to grow much more rapidly than my digital one—many do not. The vinyl resurgence has been condemned as a fad, kitsch, hipster and a waste. Yet Jack White, whose Third Man Records label played a major role in the increase in vinyl sales, is hopeful about the resurgence of vinyl. White says “All of those people who preach the gospel of the vinyl; it’s all come back into the mainstream…It’s an incredible resurgence. It’s the only part of the music business that’s growing in sales…” (View complete video of this interview here.)
For White and many of his disciples, vinyl is the best way to listen to music at home. The warm tone is often referred to as the way music is supposed to be listened to. The vinyl resurgence has also promoted creativity. Many artists include special features in their vinyl packages, like their own artwork on record sleeves, to create a more holistic creative experience rather than just downloading an album from iTunes.
So what do you think? Are albums still important to the music world, or will our digital age continue to reign?